Nearly one in five professional jobs are now advertised as remote roles, with software and developer roles bringing the highest-paying remote-working opportunities.
According to data by recruitment specialist Ladders, three million jobs became permanently remote in Q4 2021 as a result of the growing demand for remote-working opportunities.
The most recent Ladders Quarterly Remote Work Report, which is based on data on remote-working opportunities from 50,000 companies, found that 18% of all professional jobs are now remote, including nearly 156,000 roles paying $100,000 or more.
Developers, software engineers and professionals who work in highly technical fields are seeing the most remote work opportunities, Ladders found, as are roles that emphasize organizational skills.
These professionals already have competencies and role responsibilities that are conducive to remote working, the report noted. Developers and tech workers have been in high demand throughout the pandemic, having been crucial in enabling businesses to pivot to remote working, migrate to cloud-based operations, and launch new digital products and services.
According to Ladders' data, the highest-paying remote roles are:
Senior software engineer
Enterprise account executive
Senior product manager
Product marketing manager
While some bosses are hoping for a return to office working this year, Ladders found the trend was moving in the opposite direction: more than a quarter of all high-paying jobs will be available remotely by the end of the year, researchers said.
Marc Cenedella, CEO at Ladders, said big companies – and tech companies in particular – who believed employees would return to their desks were "fooling themselves," pointing out that the data didn't support this view.
"Even companies predicting mass returns to in-office work are hiring remote workers right now. Those workers will not be willing to take on a commute and pivot to in-office work," Cenedella said.
The reason some bosses are so determined on seeing a return to physical workplaces, Cenedella argued, is due to their existing investment in offices: "Large companies have invested trillions of dollars in real estate that they don't want to see wasted."
Many companies have embraced the idea of long-term remote working, though others have shown a reluctance to move away the traditional workplace. A 'hybrid' split of in-office and remote working is likely to become the prevailing trend for knowledge workers post-pandemic.
While many employees were already working from home at least part of the time prior to 2020, only about 4% of high-paying jobs were available remotely, Ladders found. This had jumped to 9% by the end of 2020.
Canedella labelled the shift "an underlying permanent shift that people are not taking seriously enough" that represented "the largest change in American working and living arrangements" since the Second World War.
"This life-changing shift to remote work is progressing even more rapidly than anyone thought it would," he added.
"The accelerating change to permanent remote now means that over 20 million professional jobs will not be going back to the office after COVID."